President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and his DRC counterpart, Felix Tshisekedi will preside over the first ever Uganda – DRC Business Forum set to take place on November 9 at Kampala Serena Hotel.
This was revealed Tuesday during a news conference addressed by Uganda’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sam Kutesa in Kampala.
The theme for the Forum is “Promoting Bilateral Trade, Investment and Connectivity for Mutual Peace and Prosperity”.
It is being co-organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Ministry of Trade, Ministry of Finance, in partnership with Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU), Trademark East Africa and KTA Advocates.
Minister Kuteesa said that Uganda and the DRC enjoy fraternal and excellent bilateral relations. This is evidenced by the high level exchange of visits including at the level of Heads of State, Ministers and Senior Government officials.
The two countries have established cooperation frameworks including the Joint Permanent Commission which have enabled the two sisterly states to achieve common goals and objectives.
He further noted that the Democratic Republic of Congo is one of the key export markets for Uganda’s exports. Total exports for 2018 stood at USD 531m, with formal trade standing at USD 221m while, informal trade currently standing at USD 312m.
According to Kutesa, the objective of the Joint Business Forum is to provide a platform that affords an opportunity to the members of the private sector of the two countries to share experiences; create business to business networks, identify opportunities and challenges and agree common solutions that advance their collective objectives.
The Minister observed that the Forum is expected to bring together over 200 participants including the Business Community from Uganda and DRC, Senior Government officials; policy makers and political leaders; International Organizations, multinational agencies and development partners, leading local and regional media houses to mention but a few.
It will be a one day private-sector led event to discuss trade and investment opportunities between Uganda and DRC in order to facilitate trade between the two countries. Among the key bilateral issues that will be discussed include promotion of cross border trade, customs co-operation, elimination of non-tariff barriers, harmonization of standards; cross border infrastructural development; energy including power generation, among others.
The media launch was also attended by Werikhe Kafabusa and Evelyn Anite, officials from the Embassy of DRC in Uganda, Uganda government officials and members of the business community.